People keep dumping garbage on the outskirts of Thornhill

Officials are getting fed up, and at least one person has been fined for the dumping of two mattresses last months

Illegal garbage dumping has been a problem in Thornhill for years

One person has been fined for the dumping of two mattresses in Thornhill last month.

The fine for dumping garbage on crown land is $115, which this person has to pay, but can be higher depending on the severity, said conservation officer Ryan Gordon.

To get a heftier fine, the conservation officer would have to take the case to court, he said.

This person, who will not be named until he pays the fine at which time he is declared guilty, has 30 days to pay the fine or it goes to a collection agency, he added.

“We can also compel people to pick up the garbage they dumped after they’ve paid,” said Gordon.

In this case, the regional district works and services staff cleaned up the refuse.

It was up to the conservation office to issue a fine because the items dumped were on crown land, which falls under the provincial government’s jurisdiction.

The person was caught due to evidence with the mattresses and other garbage left with it, he said, adding he wasn’t sure what that evidence was, but that usually it is receipts.

On Dec. 12, a resident sent an email to The Terrace Standard, the regional district and Terrace RCMP saying that a pair of queen sized mattresses had been dumped on the west side of Celgar Road, south of JK’s gravel pit, and expressing anger about “these impromptu landfills.”

“I tire of reporting these incidents especially when little to nothing improves,” said the email writer.

If people see someone dumping garbage, they are asked to call the Report all Poachers and Polluters hotline (1-877-952-7277 or on cell #7277) and report it and to gather evidence if it’s safe to do so, such as getting a licence plate number, or photos, said Gordon.

On the ministry of environment website, there is also a link to report violators online on the conservation officer service page.

Since last year, the conservation officer service received 20 calls about littering, said Gordon.

“A lot goes unreported so it does not show the whole [story],” he said. “For every one that gets reported, there’s probably three others that don’t.”

Also a lot of vehicles are dumped, probably five or six a year, he added.

Individuals are usually the ones dumping garbage and not businesses, said Gordon.

And they can go out of their way by a long distance to dump it.

For example, there are several dump sites up the Copper Forest Service Road about 15 kilometres up, which is way further than any dump, he said.

“So it’s folks deliberately going out and dumping, not just your campers going out with a little bit of garbage, it’s a whole pickup truck full,” said Gordon, adding he’s seen things like televisions and dishwashers which were dropped off the side of the road into the river.

He said maybe it’s a misunderstanding people have that their garbage is going to cost them to take to the dump but usually household waste doesn’t have a cost. “I just dropped off a dishwasher the other day and it was free,” he said.

Ted Ramsey, regional district director for Thornhill, said something needs to be done about illegal dumping.

“We’ve got several of those areas that need to be dealt with and not just with a new dump,” said Ramsey. “People have been dumping in there for years. I’ve had my fill.”

Thornhill bylaw enforcement officer Murray Daly said other problem dumping areas in Thornhill include CanCel Road near Sharples between Crescent and Thornhill Frontage Road; near the Copper River bridge down to the Skeena River and the backroads near Chindemash and other rivers.

These are spots that often gather garbage after someone dumps some and then others follow, said Daly.

Some blows you away. It’s way more effort and farther away than to go to the transfer station,” he said.